Spiritual Growth And Self-Esteem

A. In our previous lesson we saw that “Spiritual Growth Is
A Choice”
1. Commanded by God (2 Pet. 3:18)
2. Requiring diligent effort (Phil. 2:12)
3. Assisted by God (Phil. 2:13)
4. Blessed by God (2 Pet. 1:8-11)
B. Yet many Christians do not reach their potential for
spiritual growth…
1. Character development is minimal, abilities likewise
2. Years pass by with little progress
C. I am persuaded a major reason is poor self-esteem…
1. This Causes Christians to underestimate their potential
2. Hindering their efforts to grow
D. What is self-esteem? How does it affect our spiritual
growth? Let’s begin by taking a look at…
1. Understanding Self-Esteem…
a. Self-esteem is our internal feelings and evaluation of
ourselves based on our “perceived” self-image
1) How we feel about ourselves
2) Based on how we view ourselves
b. Self-esteem and self-image are closely related, they
are based mostly on feedback during childhood
1) Feedback may come first from others (parents, peers,
other important figures)
2) But then reinforced by our own self-talk (what we tell
c. Healthy self-esteem is enhanced by childhood
experiences that include:
1) Being praised
2) Being listened to, being spoken to respectfully
3) Getting attention and hugs
4) Experiencing success in sports or school
5) Having trustworthy friends
d. Childhood experiences that lead to low self-esteem
1) Being harshly criticized, yelled at, or beaten
2) Being ignored, ridiculed or teased
3) Being expected to be “perfect” all the time
4) Experiencing failures in sports or school
5) People with low self-esteem were often given
messages that failed experiences (losing a game,
getting a poor grade, etc.) were failures of their
whole self
e. The consequences of poor self-esteem:
1) Can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increased
likelihood for depression
2) Can cause problems with friendships and relationships
3) Can seriously impair academic and job performance
4) Can lead to underachievement and increased
vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse
f. These negative consequences themselves reinforce the
negative self-image and can take a person into a
downward spiral of lower and lower self-esteem and
increasingly nonproductive or even actively self-
destructive behavior
2. The Christian’s Basis For Self-Esteem…
a. The Christian has two primary reasons for having
healthy self-image:
1) Dignity by virtue of divine generation
a) We were created in God’s image _ Genesis 1:26-27
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
b) We were created to exercise dominion _ Gen 1:28
And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
c) God has further demonstrated His high estimation of
mankind by His love _ John 3:16; 1 John 4:10;
Romans 5:8
2) Dignity by virtue of spiritual regeneration
a) Yes, we were sinners, but we have been regenerated
_ Titus 3:5
b) We are now loved as His children _ 1 John 3:1
b. Christians have other reasons for having self-esteem
1) The blessing of continued forgiveness when we sin
_ 1 John 1:9-2:2
2) The blessing of God’s family (the church) to help us
_ Hebrews 3:12-13; Hebrews10:25
3) The blessing of God’s own assurance never to
forsake us _ Hebrews 13:5-6
c. There is much that could be added to the fact that God
highly esteems His children. Even though we sin, He
wants us to have the proper estimation of ourselves. But
now let’s address more directly the subject of…
1. Poor Self-Esteem Hinders Spiritual Growth…
a. Not believing they are capable of growing, some say:
1) “I could never do that (teach a class, preach etc.)…”
2) “I will make too many mistakes…”
b. Prone to giving up too soon, some tell themselves:
1) “I just don’t have the ability…”
2) “I am only a one talent individual…”
c. Poor self-esteem on an individual basis can easily
carry over to how the group feels
1) “We are too small as a church to do…”
2) “We are too poor…”
d. All such excuses are indications of poor self-esteem, and
prevent spiritual growth from occurring!
2. Proper Self-Esteem Enhances Spiritual Growth…
a. Consider the healthy self-esteem the apostle Paul had:
1) For himself _ Philippians 4:13
2) For others _ Philippines 1:6; 2:12-13
b. We should have a similar estimation of ourselves
1) We can do whatever God wants us to do, because
Christ strengthens us!
2) Instead of making excuses, say _ Phil. 4:13
3. Practical Steps For Improving Self-Esteem…
a. Identify and accept your strengths, weaknesses –
everyone has them, no one is perfect
b. Take an “I can” attitude and offer yourself
encouragement along the way
c. Set realistic goals, and then take joy in your
achievements (giving God the glory!)
d. Don’t try to be someone else – be thankful who you are©
e. Explore your own talents, learn to love and appreciate
the unique person you are (God loves you, your brethren
love you, shouldn’t you?)
f. Eliminate negative self-talk; consider the following:
1) It takes about 20 positive statements about ourselves
(the foundation of our self-esteem) to counteract even
just 1 negative personal statement!
2) It doesn’t take a continual repetition of negative
statements from our parents, peers, and others
throughout our childhood to cause low self-esteem.
3) Once we get a couple in our head, we can use them
over and over again; again and again we take those
false negatives and repeat them unconsciously
(completely unaware) – it’s like having a constant
heckler with you
A. Poor self-esteem is a major hindrance to spiritual
1. We make excuses for not trying
2. We often give up before we make progress
B. On the other hand, spiritual growth greatly enhances
1. As we grow, our achievements encourage us to do more
2. As we grow, we gain confidence that we are on the right
C. Rather than let a mistaken estimation of self to hinder
our service to God…
1. Allow God’s estimation of us to enhance our self-image
and self-esteem
2. Allow God’s estimation of us to encourage the spiritual
growth He desires
3. We will feel better about ourselves when we do!

Tom Moore
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531

About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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